Residents living in Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino counties interested in a fire prevention program email

Friday, July 30, 2010

Unit Chief briefs Governor on California Fires

San Bernardino Unit Chief Doug McKain was called on today to brief California Governor Arnold Swarchenegger on the fires currently burning throughout California. The Governor was visiting the Crown Fire which has as of this afternoon burned 13,000 acres and destroyed four residences and 5 out buildings. The fire continues to threaten the City of Palmdale. The fire is burning or threatening State Responsibility Land that CAL FIRE contracts with Los Angeles County Fire to protect. Chief McKain was asked as the Cal Fire Agency Administrator to brief the Governor on the fire situation across the state. Chief McKain's briefing followed a briefing by L.A. County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman who described the actions, events and current situation on the Crown Fire.

Following the briefings, Governor Swarchenegger participated in a news conference that detailed the efforts of firefighters to control the Crown fire and other fires burning in the state. The Governor praised California's firefighters as the best in the world and thanked them for all their efforts. Additionally, the Governor took the opportunity to address the need for defensible space around homes in the wildland interface area as well as cautioning residents to have a plan for evacuation and to be ready to go when advised to do so.

The news conference was heavily attended by the Los Angeles and Antelope Valley news media.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fire in Highland Meat Plant

CAL FIRE firefighters from Highland and Yucaipa were involved in fighting an early morning blaze at a sausage manufacturing plant in the City of Highland. The fire was reported at 6:56 AM at Far West Meats located at 7759 Victoria Avenue. Firefighters arrived at 7:03 AM and determined that there was a fire in the ceiling/roof area of the center of the building. A request for a second alram response was made which brought in assisting engines from CAL FIRE, San Manuel Reservation, Redlands, San Bernardino City and San Bernardino County. A third alarm request brought in additional engines and trucks. The cities of Rialto and Colton also sent engines to the fire. The third alarm was requested to bring fresh firefighters into the effort.

The plant's first shift had just begun their work day at 6:00 Am when smoke was detected around 6:30 AM. All of the more than 30 employees were safely evacuated from the building. Initial attempts by company personnel to extinguish the fire proved unsuccessful. The fire investigation was a joint effort by CAL FIRE and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department ArsonBomb Unit. The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental and caused by elecrtical equipment. Loss to the fire was estimated at $1,000,000 with an estimated save of $3,000,000 of property and contents.

Twelve engines, four trucks, two breathing supports, and 10 Overhead personnel fought the fire, knocking down the flames at 9:00 AM. The fire is expected to be fully controlled by 6:00 PM tonight. No injuries were reported to civilians or firefighters.

The ability of the different fire departments, their firefighters, and chief officers to come together in fighting this fire really showed how efficiently different fire departments can operate in a common effort. The Incident Commander was from CAL FIRE, but the Operations Chief on the fire was from the City of Redlands, the Safety Officer was from the City of San Bernardino, and several of the operational division chiefs were from San Manuel, City of San Bernardino and CAL FIRE. The ability to work together quickly and efficiently played a major role in stopping the fire as soon as they did.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dan Dresselhaus gets his RPF

CAL FIRE BDU Forestry Assistant II Dan Dresselhaus is not anymore. Dan recently passed the test to become a Registered Professional Forester. The test that Dan passed is a grueling six hour mind bender of a number of forestry related subjects. On average only 50 to 60% of those taking the test pass. Some of the subjects include economics, logging systems, mensurations (forest measurements and inventory), silviculture (growing trees), botany, the state forest practice act, forestry assistance, soils, geology... well you get the idea.

Just to be eligible to take the exam you must have 7 years of experience in forestry. Four of those years can be satisfied with a bachelors degree in Forestry. During his time working in the San Bernardino Unit, Dan had been working under the license of BDU Forester II Glenn Barley. BY successfully passing the exam, Dan is now able to practice Forestry on his own, as well as being able to compete within CAL FIRE for any Forester I position throughout the state.

Congratulations to Dan for this significant achievement.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rosemead gets its "Smokey On" for the 4th

The City of Rosemead in Los Angeles County had its fourth of July parade on Saturday July 3rd. It was your typical fourth of July parade with marching bands, military personnel, local dignitaries and one world famous and recognizable person... Smokey Bear was one of the invited guests along with members of the California Highway patrol. Smokey was brought to life by CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit VIP (Volunteer in Prevention) Jason Lannon. Always a crowd favorite, Smokey excited kids and grown-ups alike. for adults, Smokey brings back childhood remembrances like one lady who remembered a trip to Washington D.C. during which her family went to the national zoo and she got to see the real Smokey Bear. She said that he seemed comfortable around humans and did not growl or roar.

Smokey was greeted with cheers and applause as he passed the reviewing stand and the parade announcer reminder the pubic of Smokey's favorite phrase... "Only YOU can prevent wildland fires".

Friday, July 2, 2010

Forest Falls Demonstration House

On June 26th the San Bernardino MAST Agencies participated in a Defensible Space Demonstration. The event was designed to show local residents and absentee home owners how to make their homes and properties more resistive to wildfire utilizing defensible space standards, San Bernardino County's new green fuels fire hazard abatement code and healthy forest practices.

This is the second year of the program which involves selecting a local home within the target area. Letters are sent to all the property owners in the area by San Bernardino County Fire Hazard Abatement. CAL FIRE Foresters go through the area and mark the vegetation that needs to be removed. Then a San Bernardino County Fuels Crew with grant funding from the United States Forest Service moves in and clears the land.

Local residents and property owners were encouraged to visit the demonstration property during which they received a guided tour. During the tour, participants were given information about proper vegetation management procedures to create and maintain defensible space. The local Fire Safe Council was also on hand to answer questions about fire safe activities in the area.

More than 300 people visited the demonstration property out of the 700 notices that had been mailed out. Some of the property owners came from as far away as Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties to see how they could make their properties more defensible from wildfire.
One Property owner stated "a picture is worth a thousand words and now I know what defensible space looks like".

Busy day at BDU HQ

Thursday, July first was a busy day at CAL FIRE San Bernardino Headquarters. Radio technicians from the Office of Chief Information Officer, Public Safety Communications Division were reprogramming radios. Keeping track of the operation was Battalion Chief Mike Sweeney who is in command of the Emergency Command Center for the San Bernardino Unit.

The reprogramming involved not only the radios in the fire engines and administrative vehicles, but the hand held radios as well. The reprogramming was to update the CAL FIRE BDU radios with additional frequencies that had recently been added by our federal and local county fire service cooperators.